Diablo 3 Auction House Re-Dated; Dev Questions DRM

Right after announcing that Diablo 3's real-world auction house would be delayed, Blizzard on Friday said that it now estimates a launch date of Tuesday, May 29. The previous date was set for Tuesday, May 22, but was thus suspended due to the server struggles following the game's release earlier this week.

On Thursday Blizzard issued an apology to the Diablo 3 community for putting up with the list of errors served up to anxious, irritated gamers over the last several days.

"We’d like to extend a very sincere thank you to everyone who joined the global Diablo 3 launch celebrations this week, as well as to everyone who was ready to jump into Sanctuary the moment the game went live," the company said. "We’ve been humbled by your enthusiasm -- and we sincerely regret that your crusade to bring down the Lord of Terror was thwarted not by mobs of demons, but by mortal infrastructure."

Forbes is currently asking if the botched Diablo 3 launch has damaged PC gaming on a whole. Fans sunk $60 into a game they eagerly waited to purchase for over a decade, and couldn't even play because of Internet-based DRM. Without the ability to log onto Battle.net, they were locked out of the single-player campaign. As indie PC designer Jeff Vogel states, this scenario tarnishes the entire PC/Mac platform.

"Every gamer who gets hit with this sort of thing has a chance of being pushed away from the PC (and with good reason!) and toward consoles and iOS, platforms that don’t have these hassles," he said. "My business will, in a small way, get tarred with this brush, and it hurts my bottom line. Which makes me sad."

Most developers claim they were forced to consoles because of the piracy issues surrounding the PC/Mac platfrom -- piracy is rampant on all gaming platforms, but PC/Mac is by far the worst. Yet at the same time, restrictive DRM has pushed PC gamers over to consoles as well, and Diablo 3's launch blunder may be a perfect example of the DRM effect. It's almost as if the company is saying, "sure, we'll take your money, but there's no guarantee you can play it. It can't even be pirated."

Slashgear reports that Blizzard conducted emergency server restarts across Battle.net early Friday morning, and by 10:30am CST, the entire network was down -- including the website and forums. Everything seems to be up and running for the moment, and there's no sign of any kind of explanation. User comments state that the service was still down in Europe and Canada four hours ago. One user even suggests that people are trying to hack both the game and the anti-hack measures, and that Blizzard is doing its best to stop it.

Console owners grinning over the Diablo 3 woes will get their own troubles soon thanks to the coming tide of digital rights management, subscription services and used game prohibitions. Sounds like just another day on the PC platform.

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  • wildkitten
    This doesn't even talk about the glut of DLC's which have cause developers to deliver half done games and then flesh out the games with DLC the customer has to pay for which increases the cost of the games dramatically.

    This whole argument about piracy is also dubious. For the record, I have never downloaded and played a game that was pirated. I value my computer too much to take the risk and to be perfectly honest, I don't want to play a game I don't pay for. That disclaimer aside, I have yet to see hard evidence that piracy does indeed affect sales that much. For one thing, they have to prove that someone who downloads a pirated copy would have bought it to begin with and there is no possible way to prove that. If someone plays a pirated Diablo 2 but they wouldn't have bought it anyway, Blizzard is out no money. I'm not saying it's right that the person pirated it, I'm just pointing out the fallacy of the argument.

    I've also seen articles where they have supposedly surveyed those who do download pirated game and many of them say they use it as demos to know whether or not to buy it. I have no idea if that's true or not, there is no way to prove that either, but there is some logic to it. Many games don't have a demo, or a demo good enough to make a judgement about a game, so I can see the rationale.

    I also do not believe for one moment that D3's online DRM is to prevent piracy. I believe the RMAH is the sole reason it's there. Initally we were told that they didn't want people duping or hacking items locally then placing them on the RMAH. But when they recently announced that there will be global play, but that items dropped not in your home region would not be able to go on the RMAH. Well, if they can prevent that, it would be very simple to code items in a local client to have certain tags that would make it impossible to place on the RMAH. If you can't access the server controlled items, there would be no way to know what tags would be needed to properly hack a locally dropped item.

    But someone who were to play D3 offline is a lot less likely to use the RMAH which means Activision Blizzard is out the transaction fee of these potential non sales so to speak. But if everyone has to play online where the server controls the drop rate which can be adjusted at any time by Blizzard, then the single player has to compete with the botters and farmers for the server controlled drops making it more likely a person will be tempted to use the RMAH to get an item they need.

    Honestly, the developers are doing more damage to gaming than pirates ever could.
    30
  • ahnilated
    Yeah, after 10 yrs in the making this game is a bit disappointing and the always on connection just ruins it for me. I can't stand games like this that require that connection to play the solo game.
    20
  • nieur
    why on earth any serious gamer will go towards iOS?
    20
  • Other Comments
  • AznCracker
    Im kinda disappointed with Diablo 3. Not as good as i thought it would be. Good thing im only on the Guest pass, saved me $60
    15
  • ahnilated
    Yeah, after 10 yrs in the making this game is a bit disappointing and the always on connection just ruins it for me. I can't stand games like this that require that connection to play the solo game.
    20
  • wildkitten
    This doesn't even talk about the glut of DLC's which have cause developers to deliver half done games and then flesh out the games with DLC the customer has to pay for which increases the cost of the games dramatically.

    This whole argument about piracy is also dubious. For the record, I have never downloaded and played a game that was pirated. I value my computer too much to take the risk and to be perfectly honest, I don't want to play a game I don't pay for. That disclaimer aside, I have yet to see hard evidence that piracy does indeed affect sales that much. For one thing, they have to prove that someone who downloads a pirated copy would have bought it to begin with and there is no possible way to prove that. If someone plays a pirated Diablo 2 but they wouldn't have bought it anyway, Blizzard is out no money. I'm not saying it's right that the person pirated it, I'm just pointing out the fallacy of the argument.

    I've also seen articles where they have supposedly surveyed those who do download pirated game and many of them say they use it as demos to know whether or not to buy it. I have no idea if that's true or not, there is no way to prove that either, but there is some logic to it. Many games don't have a demo, or a demo good enough to make a judgement about a game, so I can see the rationale.

    I also do not believe for one moment that D3's online DRM is to prevent piracy. I believe the RMAH is the sole reason it's there. Initally we were told that they didn't want people duping or hacking items locally then placing them on the RMAH. But when they recently announced that there will be global play, but that items dropped not in your home region would not be able to go on the RMAH. Well, if they can prevent that, it would be very simple to code items in a local client to have certain tags that would make it impossible to place on the RMAH. If you can't access the server controlled items, there would be no way to know what tags would be needed to properly hack a locally dropped item.

    But someone who were to play D3 offline is a lot less likely to use the RMAH which means Activision Blizzard is out the transaction fee of these potential non sales so to speak. But if everyone has to play online where the server controls the drop rate which can be adjusted at any time by Blizzard, then the single player has to compete with the botters and farmers for the server controlled drops making it more likely a person will be tempted to use the RMAH to get an item they need.

    Honestly, the developers are doing more damage to gaming than pirates ever could.
    30